MAKANAH has a pleasing way of going about things in strongly-run sprints, as he showed when running well in the Portland at Doncaster last year.
With plenty of pace forecast in this field, he should get a nice tow into the race. Makanah won at Thirsk on last season’s reappearance, so fitness should not be a worry and he gets the verdict.
This looks like an open renewal of the Palace House, but MAJOR JUMBO – who finished third in last year’s race – is a tough, consistent sort and might prove hard to catch from the front.
Major Jumbo has run well on his seasonal reappearance for the last two seasons, including when winning a course-and-distance handicap two years ago, and he can make his presence felt.
TERREBELLUM can set herself up for a good season by landing the Dahlia Stakes.
It will be a big surprise if the John Gosden filly has reached her limit after only four starts last year, one of which brought her success at this level at Deauville last summer. She also wasn’t beaten far in Group 1 company in France on her final outing.
WALDKONIG left a big impression with the way he forged clear to win by nine lengths on his debut at Wolverhampton last December.
This half-brother to last year’s Arc winner Waldgeist is expected to follow up in this higher grade at the expense of stablemate Mishriff, who was runner-up in the Saudi Derby in February. Waldkonig clocked a notably fast closing sectional at Wolverhampton and is a very exciting prospect.
PINATUBO was a two-year-old of rare merit and it’s hard to look beyond the unbeaten favourite who will be very hard to beat if he has trained on. The Timeform rating of 134 that Pinatubo earned for his nine-length success in the National Stakes was the highest achieved by a two-year-old in 25 years.
Arizona got to within two lengths of Pinatubo in the Dewhurst and is likely to be involved in the battle for minor honours along with the Futurity Trophy winner Kameko.
The William Haggas-trained MONTATHAM won on his first two appearances last season and shaped better than the result at Kempton when running on late on his final start in 2019.
He remains with untapped potential so makes the most appeal in a field short on lightly-raced and progressive types. Exec Chef was out of form towards the end of last season, but has dropped to a tempting mark and is considered one of the main dangers.
NAHAARR lost his unbeaten record when failing to land the five-timer on his most recent start in August, but the defeat was due to him turning in a lacklustre effort rather than the handicapper catching up.
He remains a colt of some potential at this level and is taken to get back on track. Although having to give plenty of weight to the selection, top weight Qaysar is feared most.
KING RAGNAR left the firm impression there was more to come when opening his account at Newcastle six months ago.
He looks to have been handed a fair opening mark and, still unexposed after only three starts, he gets the nod ahead of Smokey Bear and Jouska in a wide-open contest.
ROCK EAGLE was a progressive three-year-old who ended 2018 winning the Old Rowley Cup over this course and distance, when stepping up to this trip for the first time.
He only made it to the track once last year, but that run in a listed race at Goodwood was certainly not without encouragement and he still looks on a very handy mark on that evidence.
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